Campus Directory Preview

by Michael Clark
August 30, 2012 5:01 PM

Now that Class Roster is finished and released, I've spent the past few weeks putting the final touches on a new Campus Directory application. Campus Directory will be the 4th app released in FHU's new set of Classroom Apps. You might have used the old Directory app, but it was written several years ago, and had grown limited in its functionality. The new application provides several new features that I'm very excited about.

Upon first log-in, the user sees an interface similar to the one presented in Class Roster. If the user is a student, they'll get a one-time prompt requesting them to save their profile. For students, this is what determines what is visible in search (if anything at all). Students have the option to hide their phone number, birthday, dorm room or their entire profile in general.

The search is pretty robust and allows the user to search on first name, last name or account name. There is an autocomplete that will display in case you can't quite remember that person's name. After searching, the user sees a table of contact "cards" that can be clicked on to bring up details about that person.

One piece of Campus Directory I'm particularly proud of is the inclusion of Class Lists. On the right hand side of the screen, the app comes pre-loaded with every course the student or faculty member is enrolled in that semester. There's even an indication of how many students are enrolled in the the course. Clicking on the class will bring up a customized search that returns every person in that course. There is also a handy "email" link included in case you need to send an email to the entire course.

Like I said, I'm very excited for Campus Directory to hit the ground running. I hope you're looking forward to it.

Reinventing FHU Mobile for iPhone

by Richard Simpson
August 8, 2012 8:33 PM

FHU Mobile for iPhone was probably my most anticipated summer work project; this was largely due to the fact that Austin Ash and I were tasked with rebuilding the iPhone app from the ground up. My least favorite part of programming has always been working with code written by others. The first version of FHU Mobile for iPhone was written by ten different student developers - different skill levels, styles, and ideas of the best way to get from point A to point B. When we began finishing the iPad app this summer, that was the hurdle that consumed most of my time. Even more daunting was the idea of maintaining the code behind FHU Mobile for iPhone 1.0. So when the boss walked up and handed us the opportunity to create a clean new project, I was obviously excited about the challenge.

A wonderful thing about starting fresh is the chance to make something sleek. My personal goal starting out was to produce a simple, clean, and functional application. Here at the end, FHU Mobile for iPhone 2.0 is all of that. We successfully created a fully functional app, and for the most part, we haven’t had to compromise simplicity and cleanliness.

In my opinion, the most useful parts of the app are the Map and Directory sections. I imagine the map will be most beneficial to new students and to parents; it contains every building on campus, and selecting one of the building pins will bring up the directory entry for the building. I have already used the directory a lot to find email addresses and phone numbers of faculty and staff, and the ability to add someone to your contacts list from inside the app is immensely useful.

I’m also impressed with the News and Events sections. The improved News feed lets you read and share all the latest content put out by FHU. The Events page has everything on the University’s calendar and allows you to copy events to your own calendar.

When the 2.0 update launches, expect an entirely new app that makes it easier than ever to keep up with all things FHU. Look for FHU Mobile on the App Store soon. If you have feedback, let us know. Find us in the About This App section and send us an email.

Summertime in FHU IT (An Intern’s Perspective)

by Austin Ash
August 4, 2012 7:32 PM

I’ve never been a huge fan of summer. Ever since middle school, for me it has always meant spending less time with friends and more time spent performing menial tasks outside in the Texas heat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I had these opportunities, and I feel like I learned quite a few life lessons from them. But, when I was given the opportunity to work under Michael Plyler as a programming intern, I was understandably excited about getting to use the skills I have gained from my major outside of the classroom. At the same time, however, this excitement was coupled with a small sense of fear. I had been challenged before in the classroom, but this was a completely new experience. This would be my first time in a professional environment, and I had no clue how I was supposed to interact with those around me, or whether or not I would be able to accomplish the tasks that would be assigned to me.

Looking back now, those questions seem silly to me. Thanks to the instruction that I received here at Freed and the staff of FHU’s IT department, I feel like I was able to transition very well from the classroom to the workplace. Even though at times it didn’t feel like it, I’m fairly proud of what all I was able to accomplish in two short months. Because of the basic understanding I gained of what is expected of me, and what I am capable of doing, come December and graduation time, I know I will have no problems transitioning from life here at Freed to my future job. This internship has not only taught me new skills, it has given me an edge over the competition. Now, when potential employers ask if I have any previous experience, I can easily point back to this. This quite possibly could be the determining factor in whether or not I get an important job offer. Because of this, and the fact that internships like this are hard to come by, I am very grateful for Mr. Plyler giving me this opportunity. Turns out this was a pretty good summer after all.